We decided we are now going to go through all of Ephesians - one chapter a week. We will all read it and come with our notes/thoughts to discuss. One adult each week will go through the chapter as well to look for discussion items to involve the children. I'm so excited!
Last night I started reading through Epehsians 1 and verses 4 - 6 really jumped out at me. I wanted to share that with you today.
4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
(Ephesians 1:4-6, NIV)
I'm going through a study right now on the Song of Solomon and I'm starting to finally get in my heart how the Lord really feels about me, how much He really loves me. This may be why this verse jumped out to me. We all remember the verse about the Lord knowing us when we were in our mother's womb (Psalm 71:6), but the verse in Ephesians tells us that the Lord not only has loved us since we were conceived, but even before the world was created!
Think about this and personalize it to you. The Lord loved me and wanted me to be holy and blameless in His sight even before He created the world! He wanted me to be a child of His even before He made the earth and all that is in it! What an amazing love.
Then it says he took pleasure in planning this. Even before He created the world He loved me, thought of me and made a plan to redeem me because of His love for me and He took pleasure in doing all of this. I am NOT a burden to the Lord - He takes pleasure in me just the way I am now. Not in how I will be after His process with me is finished (that is what He is enjoying planning for me). He took/takes pleasure in me when I was/am at my lowest!
For me that is a huge revelation. I think without realizing it I had a always seen myself as a burden to God. When I read this last night it finally hit me - God was telling me that when He does things for me He is not doing it because He feels He is obligated to do so because that is what His Word says, but because He really enjoys it and wants to do it for me!
I looked these verses up on Biblegatway in various translations. I love the way it is worded in The Message:
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
(Ephesians 1:3-6, The Message)
I love how this says we were the focus of his love and that He wants us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving. When you personalize this and realize this is how the Lord feels about you, regardless of where you are at right now - that is beyond what we can imagine! Just know the Lord really does Love you more than you could ever imagine and there is nothing you have to do to earn it. He is pursuing you and lavishes His amazing love on you. Doesn't that just make you want to love and serve Him so much more!
19We love Him because He first loved us.
(1 John 4:19, NKJV)